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Frank Zappa - Road Tapes - Venue #1 CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa


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Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This CD is the first in a new series of releases by the Zappa Family Trust on their Vaulternative label. Like the other Vaulternative releases, this 2 CD set is a somewhat rough recording of a complete concert, this one being one of the final concerts of the Ray Collins era lineup (although Collins does seem to be on this recording) from 1968.

I applaud the ZFT for locating recordings of concerts that feature pieces or arrangements that are not on other official Zappa releases. On this one, the absolute reason a Zappaphile must own it, is a recording of the Mothers Of Invention performing an excerpt of Edgard Varese's Octandre. While the liner notes (which do not include a musician lineup) indicate that Zappa performed this piece frequently, I have never heard such a complete recording, and well played version.

The rest of the album is very good. The performance is fabulous. the recording is mostly very good, although in the early tracks there are quite a few dropouts, and in Irouble Every Day it sounds like someone falls onto the tape recorder.

The tracks that are not recognizable by title are The Importance Of An Earnest Attempt (By Hand), which is Zappa conducting his band and training the audience, Flopsmash Music some improviasions, mostly by Ian Underwood, and The Rewards Of A Career In Music, a John Cage- like piece consisting of band members talking about their careers, one member beginning the piece, and the next joining in until it becomes a wall of spoken word.

This may not be essential to the casual Zappa fan, but to those of us who truly "get" Frank's music, it's important.

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Posted Friday, November 30, 2012 | Review Permalink

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